Anybody have any experience with chinking?

barbcollinsJune 28, 2014

When we bought are current project house, we were suspicious that there would be logs in the walls, due to a) their thickness, and b)there are other old log structures in the area.

We have now gutted the living room, and yep here's our log cabin!

The chinking appears to be original, or close to it (about 150 years old). At one point someone whlte washed over the whole thing. The white wash comes off easily in big chunks. Some of the chinking also comes out easily. It appears to be made of dirt (and probably lime). They used pieces of wood for daubing and it appears to be in good condition.

The logs are huge, and you can still see the shape of the tree in some cases. But what really struck us are the marks on the sides of the logs.

These were made by hand, probably made by an adze. Would have been hard work. And since this is no longer and exterior wall, we really want to leave it exposed.

I have learned to do a lot of things DIY over the years, but this is my first attempt at chinking. Anybody else here do this?

I have searched online and not found a definitive answer. Some say use mortar, others say that's a mistake. The premixed chinking is VERY expensive. And most videos I have found online show a very thin chinking joint. I found one youtube video where he used used a metal lath, but said his recipe was a "secret" (gee thanks).

Most of those who say don't use mortar are because the logs settling will crack it. Do you think our logs would be done settling? Or will there still be movement? If the mortar cracks, can I just patch periodically?

I am a DIY Tiler, and I have the distinct urge to get get my bucket of Redgard, then paint it beige :)

This post was edited by barbcollins on Sat, Jun 28, 14 at 19:24

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Wood is a living breathing substance and will expand and contract with weather. That said, in an interior wall it isn't going to see vast temperature changes. Humidity can certainly affect it, but you say these are big logs. I think I'd clean it up as best as possible and go at it with mortar or possibly a heavy clay or caulk type product. I'd suggest stuffing some brown plumbers oakum in those joints to act as a base. I've spent to much time with a yearning iron on that. The worst case is you system doesn't work out and you have to go to step two. Go for it and post some after pics. Good luck with it.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 12:15PM
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Use "caulk rod" (looks like skinny pool noodles) in the thick cracks, then chink over them. that minimizes the amount of filler you need.

To maximize the durability, embed something in the first layer of material for the chinking material to cling to. Strips of wire mesh would work. Fill most of the way, add the strip[, finish filling.

The chinking material would have been whatever was locally available - around here it's local clay/mud mixed with local straw for strength. As a more modern material, I would investigate the various flexible crack fillers that are on the market. Yes, they are on the expensive side, BUT would not need replacing very soon.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 12:38PM
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A little progress. I cleaned out all the loose chinking, and scraped off as much of the lime wash as possible. But then logs looked like the needed something.

I didn't want to stain them. Would have really like to use Waterlox, but I only have 2 gallons and that's intended for the floors next weekend. So I ended up getting some linseed oil, and I am very happy with results.

Next will be the chinking.

Anybody have a clue what kind of trees these were?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:43PM
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It's beautiful!!! Great job!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 1:38PM
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More of "How I did it".

We were in Restore last week, and I came across three rolls of this for only $2 each. It was the perfect size, and very easy to trim to fit the uneven spaces with a razor knife.

I held them in place with screws to the logs and daubing.

I decided to try tile mortar. Why? Mainly because I had an almost full bag, and figured if it didn't work I could just try something else. But I liked the idea that it is fortified to avoid cracks and help bond to wood. I did mix it a little thicker than usually when doing tiling.

I put the first coat up pretty thin, just to secure and harden up the plastic screening. After that was hard, I came back and put on a thicker coat. It was a little hard to get smooth so I used a old paint brush and dragged across it. It work well.

The tile mortar probably isn't the best product for this application because it does tend to droop if you pile it on too thick. But if you are patient and and do a couple coats it will work.

We thought the white was a little "too white" so for the final coat I mixed in some beige paint and coated it on with the paint brush.
The hardest part was coming back with a wet rag to clean it off the logs. Lots of little grooves especially in the bark.

I am pretty happy with the final result. I still have a few trim pieces to put on on the side and bottom. It was well work the effort.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 6:06AM
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You did some amazing work there, even if it was ad hoc and by the seat of your pants, it looks fantastic, and you're not out a lot of money if it goes kerflooey.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 11:49PM
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